These Tech Companies are Scoring Big at the World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup was viewed by 3 billion sports fans globally, CNN reported, and probably just as many are tuned in to the 2018 football (soccer) series, crowning this tournament as the most watched sporting event in our time.
This year, the finals are in Russia, and if you're tuning in, you may find yourself enthralled by the theatrics of overtly excited players, and the thrilling matches to which they devote their undeniable talent.
However, there is one other MVP that shouldn't be overlooked this year; and, no, we’re not talking about Portugul's Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina's Javier Mascherano. We're talking about emerging technology.
What we're seeing is technology pushing its way into sports. Innovative technology may have successfully disrupted several industries dating back to the 2014 World Cup, but it has also successfully infiltrated the 2018 series by way of the following innovative companies and the new opportunities they're creating for the market ahead.
When we sports fans were kids, athletic trading cards were all the rage. Now that we’re grown up, we require an updated version of these cards fitting enough for the digital age. Status has acquired a platform called CryptoStrikers, where fans can buy and trade cryptocards of their favorite soccer players.
Status and CryptoStrikers brought these “crypto collectibles” to the World Cup by launching a fresh updated set of soccer star collectibles to purchase with tokens. That’s not all, though; the companies chose to celebrate the start of the series by giving away 250 premium packs on a first-come, first-serve basis to its users.
The soccer-crypto combination is gaining traction fast. Essentially, it’s a new means to practicing a hobby that maintains its monetary value.
Viber set out on a mission to honor diehard soccer fans around the world. This messaging platform, which happens to be more secure than Telegram, started by launching an in-chat leaderboard feature that lets users track their match predictions.
Users have the option to create a custom leaderboard for a private group or to connect to a community of World Cup fans through a global leaderboard. Those who participate in the global leaderboard are entered into a contest, where they have the chance to win sticker packs, Viber Out credit or other select prizes by making accurate match predictions and collecting points.
As a fun extra, Viber will release an exclusive free soccer sticker pack in 16 languages, including English, French, Arabic, Russian and German to give soccer fans more self-expression on the platform. Viber is all about the World Cup and wants to celebrate with the platform’s users this year.
Waves launched an air-drop of 150,000 soccer tokens this year. Yes, you read that right: 150,000 tokens were distributed to fans' wallets free of charge! Each fan received one token that he or she could use to invest in a favorite team; another option was to trade the token based on who the fan predicted would win each game.
What’s the catch? The most successful team’s token would have the most value. Following the championship, Waves said it would buy back the air-dropped tokens in accordance with the betting odds defined before the launch.
Sponsors felt that a great way to increase fan involvement this year would be adding value to a team via a new token. That move seemed much safer and financially reliable, too.
Meet Bethereum, the platform where all bets are placed between peers, as opposed to a bookie, and are carried out with smart contracts and the Ethereum token. In preparation for the World Cup, Betheruem prepared to publicly launch a web-based betting game to allow anyone to bet on World Cup results and compete for a winning pot.
We’re talking millions of tokens, here! Betheruem wants to be part of the advancing digital age, changing how betting is done. The key is transparency, and allowing blockchain to provide that decentralized, secure and trusted social interaction online.
Perhaps even ticket prices and authentication are occurring via the blockchain, along with personalized feeds of matches available via new blockchain-based video players. Maybe, new services will appear that that map plays automatically to make it impossible for referees to make the wrong call. The sky’s the limit for tech and sports.
Increasing the amount of fan participation in the World Cup is just one opportunity tech companies can take advantage of. By 2022, the FIFA tournment will see new technological advances, with live streams being processed via AR, tickets sales transacted using national cryptocurrencies, statistics and data stored on the blockchain and decentralized prediction markets that can determine the World Cup champion before the series has closed (as mentioned by the Gulf Times).
The growth of platforms, applications and AR products built on these technologies is undeniable, as well. The digitization of sports is finally upon us, and the FIFA World Cup is just the start of its journey.